Sunday, August 7, 2016

MR446: Profiles of Sixteen Eastern Maine Fishing Communities

Jonesport style lobster boats

MR446: Profiles of Sixteen Eastern Maine Fishing Communities - University of Maine, College of Natural Sciences Forestry and  Agriculture (9/2015)

by Teresa R. Johnson, Kevin Athearn, Sara Randall, Marina Garland,
Katelyn Ross, Ken Cline, Chris Petersen, Robin Alden, Carla Guenther

 The region studied represents approximately half of
Maine’s coastline, and it includes the two most fisherydependent
counties in New England—Washington
and Hancock (Hall-Arber et al. 2001). Our investigation
focused on the following Downeast communities:
Vinalhaven, Stonington, Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor,
Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, Swan’s Island, Steuben,
Winter Harbor, Gouldsboro, Milbridge, Jonesport,
Beals, Bucks Harbor, Lubec, and Eastport.1
In the past, the communities in this region were
supported by a diversity of fishery resources including
groundfish. Today, however, these communities are
almost completely dependent on the American lobster
resource, which makes them highly vulnerable should
that resource decline as the groundfish stocks did in
the 1990s. Like other small-scale operations, fishermen
in eastern Maine have been significantly affected
by management measures implemented through the
New England Fishery Management Council.

While not
necessarily the intent, the implementation of limited access
fishery management based on regulations of
days at sea has left few active groundfish fishermen in
this region. This is in part because as stocks of fish in
the region declined, fishermen shifted to lobster fishing,
with the expectation of returning to the traditional,
seasonal groundfish fishery when fish stocks were
rebuilt. As managers struggled to reduce overfishing,
however, fishermen in the region found themselves lacking
adequate fishing histories, due in part to a lack of
federal catch-and-effort data from these communities
(Wilson 1999). Today, few fishermen from this region
qualify to participate in the fishery. Similar stories are
heard in other small-scale, fishery-dependent communities
(such as Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts,

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